Cgil Strike, Genova, December 2008

cgil-strike-genovaThe sign cites (with a little alteration) from Inferno XXVI, 118-120
Considerate la vostra semenza:
fatti non foste a viver come bruti,
ma per seguir virtute e canoscenza.’
Consider well the seed that gave you birth:
you were not made to live your lives as brutes,
but to be followers of worth and knowledge.
(trans. Mandelbaum)

Contributed by Virginia Jewiss (Humanities Program, Yale University)

Richard Wilbur, “Terza Rima”


Found at The New Yorker.

Contributed by Aisha Woodward (Bowdoin, ’08)

John Kinsella, “Divine Comedy: Journeys Through a Regional Geography” (2008)

john-kinsella-divine-comedy-journeys-through-a-regional-geography-2008“This mammoth new volume from Australia’s Kinsella (Doppler Effect) takes its template and three-line stanza from the three books of Dante’s epic, out of order: first Purgatorio, then Paradiso, then Inferno. Each of the three works, made from dozens of separate poems, joins allusions to Dante with sights, events and memories from Kinsella’s Australia, especially the farming region outside Perth, where he grew up and sometimes lives. The poet’s wife, Tracy (his Beatrice, he says), and their toddler, Tim, play roles throughout. Mostly, though, the poems concern places, not people; their ground note is ecological, with nature taking many forms (locust wings… at sunrise over shallow farm-dams steaming already) set against the ballast/ of cars and infrastructures that endangers it all. That motif of eco-protest dominates the Inferno (last blocks of bushland// cleared away to placate the hunger/ for the Australian Dream), but it turns up in all three of these (perhaps too similar, and surely too long) sequences. Like his compatriot Les Murray, Kinsella can sound uncontrolled, even sloppy. Yet he can turn a phrase (Who describes where we are without thinking/ of when we’ll leave it?). Moreover, he means all he says and never exhausts his ideas or ambition.”    –Publisher’s Weekly, Amazon

Contributed by Aisha Woodward (Bowdoin, ’08)

Graffiti in Firenze

Photo by Kavi Montanaro, 2008

Dante in Protest

(Photo by Kavi Montanaro, October 21, 2008)

Banner on Via dei Servi in Florence, Italy. Students, faculty, and parents protesting funding cuts in education and privatization of the school and university systems.
Virgil is saying to Dante, “But no, Dante!… Even Inferno is now privatized… A single fiorino [medieval unit of currency] is no longer enough…”

Two Streets in Florence

(Photo by Kavi Montanaro, 2008)

“Aftermath of a Revolt: Myanmar’s Lost Year”

aftermath-of-a-revolt-myanmars-lost-year“In one sense, things have improved in recent years. Once a scene from Dante’s hell–the few outsiders who visited sometimes described thousands upon thousands of half-naked men, women and children clawing into the rock in search of jade–the mining is now a largely mechanical process executed by industrial backhoes and dump trucks. A few mines still employ human diggers, and earlier this year one such site collapsed, killing 20.” [. . .]    —Daniel Pepper, The New York Times, October 4, 2008

Claymation “Inferno” by Alexis Waller


Learn more about Alexis Waller and click image above to watch the video.

Alkaline Trio, “Agony and Irony” (2008)

alkaline-trio-agony-and-irony-2008The intro to Alkaline Trio’s “I Found A Way” from their new album Agony and Irony contains a voice reading the beginning of Canto I of Inferno.

See lyrics at Metro Lyrics.

Contributed by Charlie Russell-Schlesinger (Bowdoin, ’08)

Andrew Davidson, “The Gargoyle” (2008)

andrew-davidson-the-gargoyle-2008“Seeing the angel wings on Marianne’s bare back, the burn victim starts to melt. He also likes Marianne’s captivating conversational style. (‘For now, may I tell you a story about a dragon?’) He wonders if, how and why she is crazy. He finds a reassuring internal consistency to the string of lovelorn fairy tales she tells him, and to the 14th-century biography she claims is her own. He finds it fitting that she wants to take a badly burned man on a guided tour of Dante’s circles of hell. . . Although The Gargoyle is defiantly uncategorizable, Doubleday is hard at work taming it. (Suggested question for book club group discussions: ‘What sort of tailor-made suffering might Dante have invented for you?’).”    –Janet Maslin, The New York Times, July 31, 2008